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At Halcyon Health, a unique direct primary care practice on St. Simons Island, you’ll receive the unparalleled, VIP-quality care your family needs without the hassle of traditional healthcare models. Following years of experience in the traditional healthcare sector, Lauren Whitley, M.D. created Halcyon Health to provide members with the best primary care available and to deliver it in a way that is accessible and available when you need it. It’s the next best thing to having a doctor in your family!
“The simple fact of the matter is that usually insurance is the complicating factor in the doctor patient relationship,” explains Dr. Whitley. “In a regular practice, the doctor has to see a certain number of patients per day just to make the ends meet. If I were in a regular practice, I would have to cover my medical staff, office staff, rent and the hundreds of other expenses that come up each day which would require me to see 20-30+ patients a day which only gives each patient about 15-20 minutes a visit. With direct primary care, the expenses are paid by a monthly fee so I can spend upwards to an hour with each patient. By charging a monthly fee, I am able to limit the size of my practice and spend much more time with each patient and make myself available to them around the clock.” She adds, “I started Halcyon Health to get out of the grind of the insurance driven model. I never felt like I was able to address my patient’s concerns due to the fact that there was so much emphasis on getting patients in and out. With my current practice, patients can spend as much time addressing their concerns as they would like. Sometimes people come in with an acute illness and just want to get in and out during their lunch, other times people want to sit and discuss health goals for an hour. The direct primary care model gives me the freedom to tailor each visit to what the patient wants.”
What does this mean for you as a member? Better access to a doctor when you need one! Halcyon Health covers most routine care that a patient needs. Its monthly fee covers unlimited visits, a comprehensive physical exam, a yearly panel of labs and in-office procedures. Most importantly, it gives you as the patient direct access to your doctor around the clock including after hours and on the weekends. No more urgent care visits or waiting several days to get an appointment! Dr. Whitley says, “I usually see around 8 scheduled patients a day and the beauty of our clinic is that it can always make room for sick visits. As you know, no one ever plans on getting sick and it is never convenient, so being able to walk in and see your doctor is a huge benefit.”
And when Dr. Whitley says “walk in and see your doctor,” she means that in the most literal sense. One thing you’ll immediately notice about a visit to Halcyon Health that sets it apart from the typical doctor’s office is the personal care you receive and the warm welcoming environment. “There are only two people who work here: me and my wonderful nurse, Rosemary. You are greeted by one of us as soon as you walk in the door,” says Dr. Whitley. “I don’t have any intentions of expanding my practice to include other doctors or nurse practitioners. I want to establish long lasting relationships with each and every one of my patients and I feel like if I expand the practice, I lose that. The bottom line is that you won’t see three or four people before you see me. You won’t sit in the waiting room filling out insurance paperwork. From the time you walk in the door you are treated as a person, not just the next appointment.”
This is especially important when you’re dealing with sick children, and parents will be glad to hear Halcyon Health includes pediatric care in family memberships. Dr. Whitley says, “I love taking care of children, and being able to see them is one of the things I am most excited about offering to my members at Halcyon Health. We are able to provide well child visits, sports physicals, pediatric swabs and testing and any urgent care/sick visits. Due to the cost of vaccines and the smaller number of children when compared to a standard pediatric practice, we do not offer these vaccines in the clinic. My families have a couple of options on how to get these for their children.”
While Halcyon Health is independent from any larger hospital system, Dr. Whitley still has the ability to refer her patients for any tests or specialists that they may need to see. She also keeps privileges with SEGHS hospital to allow seamless care and communication. “For example,” she clarifies, “if someone twists their knee on the tennis court and needs an MRI or a visit to an orthopedist, I can refer just like any other doctor. Your insurance company will be billed by the imaging center or the specialist.” She adds, “I have been in the area since 2018, so I have established a good working relationship with many of the local specialists. I can also refer out of town if someone would like to be seen in Jacksonville or Savannah.” Medication management is much less complicated at Halcyon Health than with a standard practice too. Normally you have to call the office, leave a message, wait for the office to call you back, and then finally your prescription is sent to the pharmacy. At Halcyon Health, they use a web based electronic medical record, so the member just sends Dr. Whitley a message and she sends in your prescription. It’s that simple.
When asked who the ideal candidate for membership in this St. Simons Island direct primary care practice would be, Dr. Whitley replied, “I think the ideal candidate for Halcyon Health is anyone who wants to take control of their health and have a physician who can sit down with them and formulate a plan to help them reach their goals. I have also gotten great feedback from families saying that it has been a significant benefit being able to have their children seen within an hour or two of calling rather than spending half the day at urgent care.”
What Dr. Whitley offers to the Golden Isles with Halcyon Health is certainly a welcome service and refreshing new model of hospitality in health care. Fortunately for our community, it’s a welcome change for her too. “Since moving to the Golden Isles with my family almost five years ago, I never plan on leaving. There is such a sense of community here. I am enjoying raising my family here and taking advantage of all the many opportunities that the Golden Isles has to offer.” She continues, “It is such an amazing place to live. I am continually impressed at how many people are living active, healthy lives into their 80s or 90s. You don’t see that in a lot of other places. I really focus my practice on helping people achieve long term wellness and being able to do all the things they want to do for as long as they want to do them.” Sounds like a match made right here in paradise!
For more information about Dr. Whitley and Halcyon Health’s services and how you can become a member, stop by the office at 28 Market Street, Suite 128, call 912.357.2022, or visit halcyonhealthssi.com.
Mind-Body-Self - Where Healthcare Meets Hospitality originally posted on by Elegant Island Living magazine.
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